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Socialism, here are my thoughts

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posted on Jun, 6 2012 @ 08:54 AM
Hi guys,

I am fascinated with the political debate in America, and especially how some view socialism – frankly because it seems that a large part of the American population have a very different understanding of the word than I.
I say that they have a different understanding of the word and not just a different understanding in general because, when it comes to politics I personally believe that more often than not, most of us actually agree, and when we don’t it is usually a matter of semantics.

Like I think most of us can agree that a world where all people are happy is a better world than one where no one is. (Does not matter if it is possible or not, it is a hypothetical question). But once we start talking about how to reach this goal or just try to agree on what happiness is, the trouble begin. Semantics.

I grew up in Denmark, where we have something called Democratic Socialism also known to some as The Nordic Model. Here the modern social democratic movement has abandoned the goal of moving toward a socialist economy and instead advocates for social reforms to improve capitalism, such as a welfare state and unemployment benefits. Same format is seen in countries as Norway, Sweden and Finland.

This kind of socialism has in my opinion brought great prosperity to The Scandinavian countries, and I think it is currently one of the best models around. Here are some arguments for it:

As a result of its acclaimed "flexicurity" model, Denmark has the freest labour market in Europe, according to the World Bank. Employers can hire and fire whenever they want (flexibility), and between jobs, unemployment compensation is very high (security). The World Bank ranks Denmark as the easiest place in Europe to do business. Establishing a business can be done in a matter of hours and at very low costs. Denmark has the 9th highest export per capita in the world. Denmark has the fourth highest ratio of tertiary degree holders in the world. GDP per hour worked was the 13th highest in 2009. Denmark has the world's lowest level of income inequality, according to the World Bank Gini (%), and the world's highest minimum wage, according to the IMF. As of June 2010 the unemployment rate is at 7.4%, which is below the EU average of 9.6%.

In a Gallup survey from 2010, of how large a percentage of the population is thriving, the Danes were (once again) at the top of the list, with a rate of 72%, followed closely by Sweden and Canada whom are both at 69%. United States comes in at 59% in the same survey.

This may come as a surprise to some - historically, Denmark, like its Scandinavian neighbors, has been one of the most socially progressive cultures in the world. For example, in 1969, Denmark was the first country to legalize pornography, and in 1989, Denmark enacted a registered partnership law, becoming the first country in the world to grant same-sex couples nearly all of the rights and responsibilities of marriage.

Also, just wanna throw it in their - Denmark is also among the countires with the highest precentage of athiests.

Most of this information is from wikipedia -

So – now, I am no genius when it comes to social science. But do feel the above numbers make a pretty convincing case. But I am sure many will disagree and I am sure some might do so for good reasons, as I am sure some will do so for ignorant reasons.

I am not trying to say that Denmark is perfect. I live here, I know it aint.

But I do feel that socialism; and especially the more modern approaches to socialism are getting and bad rep for no good reason.
I think socialism is a fundamental part of civilized society, and without it we could never have reached the quality of life that many, here in the western world, have today. Mainly because civilizations aren’t build buy individuals, but by a whole group of people working together – and in order for people to do so they need to feel safe, and not just from terrorism, organized crime or other such extremities, but economically and socially too.
I am sure more people lie sleepless at night from not being able to pay their bills, than for any other reason what so ever.
So why not a war on poverty? Properly because there is no obvious profit to be made.
But there is though. A better world, better quality of living, and indirectly a more effective workforce.

Now, I just want to tackle one last thing and I’ll try to make it short, because I am sensing that this post is already all over the place.
Yes, we do have problems with people exploiting the system here in Denmark. This is no secret, and I think it is safe to say that this is one of the biggest arguments against it and for this I have no solution. But I do not think it is that big of a problem, generally because I do not believe that man is inherently greedy, or not for money anyway. It is equally important, if not more, for people to feel socially accepted and feel like they are improving in whatever field might interest them. Computer games and sports are great examples of this – even though a very small portion of players might be able to live of it, most just play for fun – to interact socially and improve themselves.
Only when people fear that there is not enough for their family and themself do people get greedy.

Man, there is so much more I wanna say, but I think you get my point – or I hope you do.
And if you disagree, then please be gentle.

posted on Jun, 6 2012 @ 09:09 AM
reply to post by Mads1987

To each their own. What works for your country may not work for others though. Americans, generally, have an unmatched work ethic and productivity so in our society it would make sense that people want to be compensated for their God given talent. Not on some arbitrary scale set up by the government. Socialism may be great in your country but there are plenty of examples where it was even more corrupt a system than capitalism. Americans generally see socialism as a disincentive to work your hardest, and that's generally true. Look at American productivity compared to most of europe's.

That being said America is socialist too. We just don't like to admit it.

posted on Jun, 6 2012 @ 09:24 AM
I does have to do with semantics. Which type of socialism are you referring to? The "socialism" Denmark, Norway, Sweden, etc., works well. The "socialism" of Russia, China, Cuba, North Korea, Greece...not so much.

Pure Socialism, as an economic model, will always fail. The government, composed of powerful people, becomes corrupt as power grows. It's inevitable, and will always happen, as it always has.

Pure Capitalism will usually fail. A country run entirely by business interests will usually fall under the sway of powerful corporate interests. The reason I say "usually" is because the citizenry of a Capitalist system is more powerful than the citizenry of a Socialist system, and can better help to regulate the economy directly.

A mixed system is the best way to go, and as long as it stays mixed, with a majority of Capitalist formulas, a country will succeed. Look at China, who went from a Socialist (Communist) economic model, to a mixed model (though still more Socialist than Capitalist). They are the second strongest economy on the planet now. Even Cuba is beginning to experiment with Capitalism, and they are already beginning to reap the benefits.


posted on Jun, 6 2012 @ 09:35 AM
reply to post by KnawLick

Thank you for the answer.

I am a bit curious about the unmatched work ethic. Do you just mean that it us unlike, or are you saying better? Because the ladder option does not make sense to me. Since the US consists of so many different ethnicities I would find it hard to believe that they are born harder workers because they are americans, and I do not think geographics have anything to do with how productive you are either. The culture might make a difference, but personally I believe that since we are all humans, what works for one should work for the other. So if it works for the Danes... well, you get the point.
I do however see some problems in scaling the model we have in Denmark to a country the size of the US. But not that many.

posted on Jun, 6 2012 @ 09:38 AM
reply to post by The Old American

Well, I feel, that when Americans refer to socialism, it is often while talking about stuff like healthcare and welfare and such, which are things we have here in Denmark and which I would refer to as Democratic Socialism, and not the kind they had in Russia, China etc...

So yeah, I am talking about Democratic Socialism. Which is basically Capitalism with a Socialistic spin on it.

posted on Jun, 6 2012 @ 09:54 AM
reply to post by Mads1987

hahaha "what works for one, should work for the other". And that is one of the greatest fallacies associated with socialism. what works for one doesn't always work for others. somebody said (can't remember who!!) whats great about america is we have 50 different countries in one. our federal system allows all our states to try new, different ideas. a laboratory of democracy, whereas a socialist, top-down model stifles creativity. there is a reason why (generally) all the best creations come from america, we encourage outside the box thinking.

Also YES, work ethic is build into the DNA of our country, no matter the ethnicity. this would be hard for a european to understand having lived there. when people come to america it is know that you either work hard or live on the street (this may be changing under bush, and def. under obama). we have millions of illegals here from mexico but they come and bust there butts, its the american way. We do have our fair share of reloaders but unlike in european countries you can't go your whole adolescent life supported by the government so it instills a different spirit in people. an american spirit. i assure you, its very real.

posted on Jun, 6 2012 @ 10:04 AM
reply to post by KnawLick

I know that the "What works for one should work for the other" is not something that can be applied to everything. But I do believe that when you talk about fundamental stuff it can. I am not talking about picking a favorit color, but what kind of stuff is healthy to humans and makes them thrive and what is not and does not.

And I think you are wrong about work ethics being incoded in the DNA. First of the US is still a very young country, so this shift in DNA structure would have happened very rapidly and I have never heard of any scientific evidence that would support such a claim - and again I would like to return to the fact that the US is comprised of many ethnicities, many of which are european, so I doubt that there is much of a difference genetically.
edit on 26/06/87 by Mads1987 because: Just need to formulate something better..

posted on Jun, 6 2012 @ 10:10 AM
reply to post by Mads1987

I like what your saying, and where your coming from.

I have often pondered why things seem so nice in places like Denmark, that is, in comparison with The US. It would seem to me that people generally take what they are given, and if they are given a better political system, then they will take it. I have always assumed that things were better there due to it being the "home" and "breeding ground" of old European monarchies, and "they" would just as well have things be quite pleasant and nice in this part of the world. Any thoughts OP?

posted on Jun, 6 2012 @ 10:19 AM
reply to post by cointelprotroll

Good question. I am not sure what to answer. But I do not think the monarchy has much to do with it anymore - but in the past I do think we have been lucky with some of the monarchs we have had.

We do have something in Denmark, and unwritten law, called Jante's Law. It is not to be taken to serious, but I think it gives a good impression of scandinavian mentality when it comes to social interaction.

Basically it is about modesty and equality.

The ten rules state:
Don't think you're anything special.
Don't think you're as good as us. (us being other people than yourself, and not Danes, or anyone else in particular).
Don't think you're smarter than us.
Don't convince yourself that you're better than us.
Don't think you know more than us.
Don't think you are more important than us.
Don't think you are good at anything.
Don't laugh at us.
Don't think anyone cares about you.
Don't think you can teach us anything.

Just to make it clear - Jante's Law is originally from a fiction book and is viewed as something comical in Denmark. Not something serious!

I hope that answers your question.

edit on 26/06/87 by Mads1987 because: Felt I needed to add something.

posted on Jun, 6 2012 @ 10:43 AM
reply to post by Mads1987

Ha sorry. I didn't mean part of our DNA is a scientific sense. More in a deeply embedded cultural sense, it's just a saying we say here, maybe a language barrier.

And would you say that the Chinese model works well for them? I sure would. But I assume you don't think it work well in Norway (sorry is that where your from?). People are different. What works for china may not work for you. What works for you, may not work for us.

posted on Jun, 6 2012 @ 10:52 AM
reply to post by KnawLick

Okay, then I understand.

I am from Denmark. I do not know that much about the chinese model, but I think that the parts that works for them, should work for us too, and visa versa. But as far as I am aware the chinese model only works well when it comes to productivity, and not so much when it comes to creating social stability or even scientific development. Basically they just offer the same products for less money, but whether or not they are actually increasing the quality of living is a different matter.

posted on Jun, 6 2012 @ 11:09 AM
The Scandi countries have got it sussed compared to the rest of us. Progressive liberal cultures and fantastic living standards. Its the place to be right now. The uk and the usa are like lumbering dinosaurs ripping themselves to bits compared to these forward thinking countries. Also they say things like,"Thish moening i shwam maybe thirty or forty killometers".

posted on Jun, 6 2012 @ 11:21 AM
reply to post by Mads1987

I once saw this vid, I think it was called, the ring. It was a poorly made, 5 hour documentary that tells history in its most probable form. Anyway the vid claims that European monarchies originated from the twelve tribes of Isreal via the vikings or Five Kings, and more specifically the tribe of Dan. The vid goes on to say that Denmark is the same as the Mark of Dan. Englands first King was Danish.
I know this is off on a tangent, but I would love to hear your thoughts on this OP?

About that wierd jantes code: if the "us" is the elite, then it greatly subtantiates my beliefs
edit on 6-6-2012 by cointelprotroll because: too stupid!

posted on Jun, 6 2012 @ 12:28 PM
reply to post by cointelprotroll

I am not familiar with the documentary, or the information in it.
To my understanding we were originally know as Daner (plural), Dan deriving from the word Dau which means vally in some ancient scandinavian language, and the full name Danmark was coined by a norwegian author about 1100 years ago.
There have been people in Denmark almost since the last ice-age, but missionaries did arrive at some point doing the Viking Age and converted the country. But to my understanding we had no major influences from far away countries before that time.
I believe the UK was once a part of the 'Viking Empire', and there was a large amount of interaction, but I am not sure about the specifics.
I know the Vikings also made it to Spain at some point, and they have tales down there of Giants coming down from the north and messing them up. They returned the favor in the 1600 century, they invaded us and raped a lot of the women. This can actually still be recognized in a big part of the danish population - dark hair and such. Not that anyone cares, and I doubt many are even aware.

About Jante's Law, I think that you may be able to apply it in that sense. I'll have to brush up my Jante to be a 100% sure, but generally he is just talking about everybody. Like - Don't think your better than everybody else. It's about modesty, about recognizing that we need each other - but also that we dont like bragging and that it is more important to be doing some thing good than it is to be good at what you are doing.
edit on 26/06/87 by Mads1987 because: (no reason given)

posted on Jun, 6 2012 @ 12:50 PM
reply to post by Elvis Hendrix

Hah - I can totally see a guy saying something like that, maybe not that far, but you really have flair for catching accents in writing. Lol!

But yeah, I mean. We do feel the crisis here too, but luckily we have been saving up for a while. We were hoping to buy a new island or one of them nuclear bombs all the other countries are talking about - I don't know. We are doing alright.
But yes, we are rather progressive when it comes to civil liberaties, green energy and so on. But it's not like we are that far ahead of everybody. But I think the fact that we are only like 5.5 million people, have easy acces to many basic resources and have had so since man first started doing agriculture, has made everything just a little bit easier for us Danes.
We are Norway-light, the slightly less spoiled richkid in the class. So to be frank, if or when SHTF for real, we'll be just as well of as the next.
edit on 26/06/87 by Mads1987 because: (no reason given)

posted on Jun, 6 2012 @ 05:54 PM
Good thread. Most people do not know the difference between socialism and social democracy.

They seem to think anything with the world 'social' in it is socialism.

Social democracy is not socialism. It does not advocate a move from a private ownership, capitalist, economy to a worker owned, socialist, economy. It just advocates social programs to compensate for capitalism.

It is obvious to true socialists that this does not work, and should not be considered 'left-wing' in it's true meaning.

True socialists support the workers ownership of the means of production, not a system that is nothing but right-wing light, a liberal version of capitalism, that creates a massive state system with even more massive taxation.

That is not what the original socialists wanted. The original goal of all left-wing ideologies was the 'free association of producers', not a system of social handouts. They wanted to own the means of production themselves in order to produce for their needs, that were not being met by capitalism.

In the anarchist, Marxist and socialist sense, free association (also called free association of producers or, as Marx often called it, community of freely associated individuals) is a kind of relation between individuals where there is no state, social class or authority, in a society that has abolished the private property of means of production. Once private property is abolished, individuals are no longer deprived of access to means of production so they can freely associate themselves (without social constraint) to produce and reproduce their own conditions of existence and fulfill their needs and desires.

Anarchists were also socialists. The left split into two main factions in the 1800's, those that supported a political path to free association by creating a worker ran government (UK Labour Party 1920's) Marxists, Leninsts etc., and those that wanted direct action, revolution, who started calling themselves Anarchists after Proudhon who was the first to describe himself as such in "what is Property".

They all supported worker ownership because it's the only fair way to organise labour. What we have is a system that tries to soften the blow of capitalism on the poor, but does nothing to solve the root problem. We end up paying for it all anyway through taxes. Call it what you like but it's not socialism.

posted on Jun, 6 2012 @ 06:13 PM

Originally posted by The Old American
Pure Socialism, as an economic model, will always fail. The government, composed of powerful people, becomes corrupt as power grows. It's inevitable, and will always happen, as it always has.

Pure socialism has nothing to do with governments.

"Anarchism is stateless socialism", Mikhail Bakunin

Socialism in it's basic definition is 'the workers ownership of the means of production'. That is what the term means, nothing more, nothing less.

Marxism is not socialism. Marxism is a political path to socialism and then communism. People take the 'ComyFesto' out of context, and use it as the definition of socialism/communism.

Anarchists are socialists, communists are socialists, Marxists are socialists, not all socialists are Marxists, or communists, or anarchists... Socialism can come in many flavours, so don't blame socialism if you don't like a flavour.

If you really want to debate socialism, then you should be debating worker ownership vs private ownership. Not governments and their nonsense. Once the workers own the means of production, the capitalists will not have their economic control over the state, the people will actually have the power to chose the state they want, or don't want. As it is now economic power dictates the state, and political system, we have. Private, minority, complete ownership, and control, of our needs is the real problem. The state, and government, we have is a result of our economic system.

posted on Jun, 7 2012 @ 09:26 AM
reply to post by Mads1987

thanks for the info friend. I think i might have been pushing it thinking jante's law had devious and decepitive underpinnings, but I think I'm correct in thinking the elite like things to be good and nice in places they like to be; hence, Jante.

posted on Jun, 7 2012 @ 01:56 PM
I support a progressive type Socialism with levels of achievement. I don't know if it has a specific name.

I support everyone is entitled to basic housing and medical. And I do mean basic. If you aren't willing to work - you are not entitled to more then very basic.

Because just warehousing people does not work - - I support "working housing units" with a central kitchen. Every tenant must be assigned a job(s) within the unit. They could be divided into singles - couples w/o children - couples w/children - etc. There could be a preschool within the family units. Even classrooms.

I do not support cash handouts at all. "That Which is Not Earned - - has no value".

"Lazy" is a culture IMO. Past from generation to generation. Culture is the hardest thing in the world to change.

So I'd start from the bottom up - - and have "Levels of Attainment" - - through education - abilities - and willingness to work.

Seriously! You just can't not have a place for people like Bill Gates. You simply can not expect people of achievement not to achieve. But you can instill programs and methods for them to give back to the community as a whole.

posted on Jun, 7 2012 @ 02:28 PM

Originally posted by Annee
I support a progressive type Socialism with levels of achievement. I don't know if it has a specific name.

All political paths to socialism are like this, Marxism, Leninism etc.

But the path itself is not socialism. Marxism for example supported the temporary nationalization of industry, which ultimately socialists do not support, but some socialists thought was a necessary step in our economic evolution. Some socialists, including Marx, believed even capitalism was a necessary step we had to go through in order develop the wealth to create the machinery necessary for production. But once the machinery was available then capitalism should be replaced by socialism, and then eventually communism.

I support everyone is entitled to basic housing and medical. And I do mean basic. If you aren't willing to work - you are not entitled to more then very basic.

I don't think people should be just given those basic needs, but they should be available to everyone. In a worker owned economy, that is not profit focused even though profit can be made, anybody who can work will be able to work in order to produce for their needs. The only people who would not have to work are those unable to.
With an economy not based on profit, resources would not need to be kept artificially scarce, and we would simply over-produce to meet needs.

Seriously! You just can't not have a place for people like Bill Gates. You simply can not expect people of achievement not to achieve. But you can instill programs and methods for them to give back to the community as a whole.

But financial gain is not the best form of motivation. We are conditioned to be motivated by money and position.
In a system not based on private profit, when all our needs are met, we would be motivated in other ways. If we want computers our motivation would be we want computers. In the capitalists system we are motivated by the fear of poverty. In fact this kind of motivation kills technology, it's why we still rely on oil for fuel. Whatever makes the most profit, from the least cost, will always be what we end up with, not what is best for us.

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